Talking about money – sometimes other people will surprise you

What is 'real' savings anyway?

I love talking about money. I mean, you already know that, but in real life it’s even more awesome.

Asians don’t shy away from money talk, but I was always raised to remember that it’s a taboo topic in wider society here.

And so, I’ve been ridiculously stoked to be part of honest conversations with various colleagues about money over the past year or two.

Day to day we talk about the cost of housing, cars, travel. But pay is always a sensitive area, and one I’ve never felt safe broaching unless it’s around the time that I’m leaving that job – just before, or just after.

Every time it’s started with general discussions, tiptoeing around the subject and talking in percentages or just very vaguely. And then, the other person has come out with a number first. (Cue reciprocity.)

I’ve been surprised at how happy others are to disclose numbers, but in a good way – more transparency FTW.

Also, two thumbs up for the rad female bosses I’ve had who have encouraged me to negotiate pay.

Shameless plug: Next week is NZ Money Week, a campaign that I’ve been involved with through work. There’s a number of events – workshops, seminars – happening around the country (see moneyweek.org.nz) and if you take this quick quiz you can enter to win a Les Mills gym membership plus some time with an authorised financial adviser. 

7 thoughts on “Talking about money – sometimes other people will surprise you

  • Reply Revanche August 28, 2015 at 07:08

    Interestingly, while I looove talking about money, I’m still selective about who I’d discuss it with. Not, for example, with that prospective nanny who was interrogating me about whether we rent or own, how much we bought for or how much rent was, the cost of every. single. thing. in our kitchen.

    And not with most relatives who wear blinders and only focus on the amounts, and not the weight of the responsibilities that I’ve carried for ages – that conversation would just result in me turning into the Bank for Family. But I am so grateful that I’ve had friends of varying ages who do talk money.

  • Reply Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank August 31, 2015 at 21:42

    I love talking about money especially with close friends. But, I think it depends on whom we talk to how much open we can be to talk about our money.

  • Reply Vanessa September 1, 2015 at 09:27

    I also get way, WAY too excited when people talk about money. It’s like “What? You want to discuss retirement portfolios and how to increase your savings rate?! I’m there!”

  • Reply Taylor Lee @ Engineer Cents September 2, 2015 at 23:33

    I’ll talk money with exact numbers with my Asian friends without skipping a beat. But talking with my non-Asian friends I can sense the tension and so use more circuitous language like “a lot” or “about a month’s worth of pay” or something. I also, I don’t know, feel like feelings of animosity would arise telling my non-Asian friends because it isn’t common talk? Like I worry if they’ll feel angry or jealous or pity for me or something whereas for friends which talk with me frequently about money, I just understand it as a mutual curiosity.

  • Reply Dane Hinson September 3, 2015 at 09:59

    The more people openly discuss money the better off our society will be. There is a true retirement crisis looming and I fear that the lack of financial education and discussion will only enhance the problem.

  • Reply Pira September 4, 2015 at 09:22

    I love talking about money! Funny people will talk about highly personal topics (in my opinion) yet god forbid someone brings up money. I find people are very reserved when it comes to exact numbers. Often I find it strange as I am very open about my salary if asked. Though I wonder if revealing salary, net worth etc. may lead to resentment among friends. I tend to compare myself to others and feel like if I knew that people had way more than me, I’d be a bit resentful haha

  • Reply Prudence Debtfree September 5, 2015 at 00:52

    “Asians don’t shy away from money talk” – I didn’t know that. I suppose it’s because the Asian people I know are here in Canada, and they’ve learned not to talk about money. It’s great that you can engage in money talk with people face to face (as opposed to just online). When it comes to numbers, my ground-breaking disclosures have had to do with our debt and our repayment. I’m still reluctant to share income or savings/investments/assets. Not sure why. I think it’s because I’m very sensitive to people who earn less than we do, and I don’t want to come across as being boastful – even though it wouldn’t really be boastful. Does that make sense?

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